The following article was taken from March 1976 edition of ‘Welsh Rugby Magazine’.
Daw’r erthygl canlynol o rifyn Mawrth 1976 o ‘Welsh Rugby Magazine’.
During the 1967-68 rugby season, fresh seeds were sown in the fertile field of rugby in our capital city of Cardiff. The seeds were very much “seeds of Welshness” which have now grown into the strong roots of “Clwb Rygbi”, a primarily Welsh-speaking rugby club. This club plays its home matches on Pontcanna Fields and the after-match get-togethers take place at HTV’s Social Club in the grounds of the television studios.
There are two parallel philosophies involved in the life of “Clwb Rygbi” and they are firstly to play rugby according to the laws of the Welsh Rugby Union and secondly to further foster the Welsh language amongst Club members. While Welsh is the first language of the club, there is no ban against non-Welsh speakers, as indeed there are a few players who are English nationals and who are very happy in the club.
Of the founder members, only three still remain D.W. (Doc) Jones, Alun Charles and John Richards who is a P.E. teacher at Llanrhymney and who was capped by the Junior W.R.U. in 1969/70. Other founder members have become missionaries of the Union code by going to remoter parts of Wales, as far as rugby is concerned, where they have started other clubs such as Llangefni in Anglesey where ex-Clwb Rygbi man Lyn Davies has introduced our national game. Bethesda has benefited by the efforts of Buckley Wyn Jones while Tregarron have been indoctrinated by Alun Breck Jones.
THE FACT THAT only three of the original members still remain, even though other former members are spreading the gospel, does in fact highlight the inherent problem of a club such as “Clwb Rygbi” and that is, because it is made up almost entirely of members who have come to work in Cardiff, mainly in the teaching profession , who have no real roots here and therefore the majority will not remain here indefinitely. It therefore resembles a college side but with the added disadvantage of having to see to its own chores such as putting the flags up before games, seeing to the teas after games while having to pay for the privilege of playing so that the overheads such as laundry and hire of HTV’s Social Club are covered. Costs incurred on away matches have also to come out of the pockets of players. The “perk” that most clubs enjoy and yet take for granted, which “Clwb Rygbi” greatly miss, is the invaluable contributions made by the 50-and 60-year old members who see to the pitch before a match by doing such jobs as placing of flag posts, and making sure the tea, soup and beer is ready afterwards.
Players in the majority of clubs certainly do not realise how lucky they are when they only have to concentrate their minds on playing. Nevertheless, for all the problems this happy club has a very important factor going for it and that is their unshakeable Welshness, which cannot possibly be explained to the majority not involved with the language. To attempt to do so would only antagonise the situation unnecessarily and we all know, to rephrase an old saying, there are none so deaf as those who will not hear, but to hear these boys at a get-together is a joy to behold. They have a fine choir of voices and for a pleasant change, they all know the words, whether the renditions are of well known hymns or modern folk songs.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS in 1967/68 when their one and only team had a string of uninteresting fixtures, this club have gained in status and stature. They now run three teams with the second XV playing the fixtures that the first XV were playing a couple of seasons ago. The club is a member of the “Cardiff & District” Junior Union and qualifies to enter for the “Welsh Brewers Cup” and the “Mallet Cup” while the Second XV enter the “Ninian Stewart Cup”.
Last season “Clwb Rygbi” won the Cardiff and District Sevens for the second time by beating Rhiwbina in the final after having previously won this competition in 1970/71. During last season they reached the last eight of the “Mallet Cup” and after getting to the finals of the Welsh District Sevens they lost 20-16 to Pontypridd Athletic which included three of their first team players.
Naturally enough “Clwb Rygbi Caerdydd” is very keen to have its own ground and clubhouse and is striving desperately hard to make money from various schemes to build up a fund which might one day make this dream a reality. One very ambitious scheme underway is that during the National Eisteddfod this year at Cardigan, they have hired the main pavilion for one night for a “Noson Lawen” which will include entertainers like Max Boyce and Ryan Davies plus possibly a well known international star. Add to this the harmonious offerings from major groups in Wales and maybe the Polyphonic Choir of Cardiff and Pontarddulais Male Voice Choir and the scene is set for a “Noson Lawen” to be remembered for all times.
The total cost for setting this up will be �3,500 so let’s all hope the pavilion will be filled to overflowing with Welshness which has paid for the privilege and by doing so help bring the ambitions of “Clwb Rygbi” a little nearer to becoming a reality. It is also hoped that it will attain full WRU status in the not too distant future.
UNLIKE OTHER CLUBS, this club does not have a history or tradition to draw on or even laurels to rest on. It has to capitalise on the strength and characters within the existing club and in this it is indeed fortunate. To begin with its former and present presidents are none other than those famous men of rugby for Llanelli, Wales and the Lions, R.H. (Rhys) Williams and Carwyn James respectively. The teams also have a healthy sprinkling of players of no mean repute. Captain of the first XV is Huw (Ike) Davies at scrum half, of present HTV fame but formerly successor to Carwyn James at Llandovery College where he was head of the Welsh Department and in addition coached rugby. During his days at Cardiff University he was captain for the seasons 1967/68/89. He played twice for the Welsh Universities and also played for his home team Cwmgorse when they won the West Wales Cup and became their captain for the following two season. Last year’s captain and prolific points scorer is full back Alun (tids) Jenkins a Brynaman man who has scored just on 200 points this season so far. He is a former reserve for the Wales Junior WRU side but is best known at the moment, apart from scoring points, for his masterly control at social occasions. Everyone responds to him as one and apart from being a fine singer he is also know for his fanatical enthusiasm for quiz-games. So good is he at this that he now has his own quiz programme on BBC’s “Good Morning Wales” every Wednesday morning. Doc Jones is another tremendous character who is well known for his oratory powers, questionable ability as sponge-man, but fantastic at organising club dances which are held at the Territorial Army Hall every Friday evening before home international matches. These dances bring together old and new friends who are visiting Cardiff for the big match, while they could well be fortunate enough to hear Doc’s excellent and much applauded rendering of Myfanwy.
FROM THE OUTSIDE-HALF FACTORY in Cefneithin, where you-know-who comes from, another fine outside-half has emerged by the name of Dai Davies. Dai is primarily a scrum half but is such a good player that moving to outside-half offers no problems to him. This is indeed fortunate as the captain Huw (Ike) Davies, the scrum half, also picks the team so the predicament is settled instantly!!!
Of the other players, the majority have played for the first XV of their college or university, such as Graham Bowen (Aberystwyth University), at centre, Dorian Rees (Swansea University), at centre, Beuno Hughes (Swansea University). In the pack “Clwb Rygbi” must be better blessed with hookers than any club, for it has no fewer than three ex-first class players. Returning to Cardiff this year from London where he played for Saracens is Amman United man Roley Davies, while another Amman United player who also played for Bridgend for one season is Howell Evans. Howell was last season’s vice captain. The third hooker is Gwyn Williams from Bargoed, who was regular hooker for the Welsh Universities and British Universities when his prop was Fran Cotton of England. Gwyn also played for Pontypool when his props were none other than Bobby Windsor and Charlie Faulkner. He has also played for Cross Keys and Glamorgan Wanderers. From Haverfordwest in Pembrokeshire (to blazers with Dyfed) comes prop Wyn Lewis who was a Welsh Schoolboys’ final trialist and second row man Peter (Rocky) Morgan. There is also a North Wales player John Humphreys who has unfortunately been plagued with cartilage trouble throughout this season. Another North Walian is Owen Eames playing at wing three-quarter. A further player with first class experience is prop forward Gwyndaf Davies who apart from having played for London Welsh, is also the son of Wil Davies of Jack and Wil who are the ever popular singers of Welsh folk songs and who can be heard on Welsh radio’s record request programmes every week without fail. In the back row there is Dai Lewis at No.8 while the flankers are chosen from Meirion Jones of Ammanford, John Griffiths who played for Caerleon training College while the number one flanker is Alun Charles, wanted by Pontypridd, and one of the three remaining founder members.
“CLWB RYGBI CAERDYDD” is now a rapidly improving rugby club running three sides but it still suffers from the nomadic tendencies of its players although this has settled down greatly during the past year. The real hope for the future lies in increasing support from boys leaving the Welsh schools at Llanharry and Rhydfelin where Arwel Owen, the 2nd XV vice captain and fixture secretary, is a PE master. He can obviously keep an eye on good prospects. Richard Jenkins is just such a player, who at 18 years of age plays for the first or second XVs as required, in the second or back row.
The future of this club is also assured as long as they retain administrators like secretary Wyn Williams and Martin Williams, now on the BBC production ladder and expense account, whose commitment to training has deteriorated to being just in time to join the boys at the bar!
One thing that Huw Ike Davies has learned will not pay off in the future is that shrewd referees cannot be fooled even when they don’t understand the language. During last season’s Sevens match against Rhiwbina, one of “Clwb Rygbi’s” players was having trouble with his bootlaces so Huw suggested in Welsh, that one of the other players should go down with a feigned leg injury. This the player did, but to the amazement of Huw and his team-mates the referee awarded a penalty against “Clwb Rygbi” for wasting time. The referee stated that he did not understand what was said but he read the situation right enough. Rhiwbina went on to score from the penalty kick. The moral from that must be – “you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time.”
Now that there are so many people in Cardiff who are Welsh language orientated, “Clwb Rygbi” would welcome their support in the future. They could also do with more female support both on the touchline where they can see the boys winning most of their matches and with much needed help after the games. There is already a small nucleus of support from wives and girlfriends plus the dedicated support from beautiful Angharad Anwyl-Thomas. So come on girls give the boys your support and enjoy a friendly atmosphere with fine singing thrown in for good measure. They really have an “uncompromising” lot!
With so many rugby clubs having now reached or about to reach one hundred years of existence, it is exiting to see a young club which has so many characters, players of quality, freshness and ambition and whose motto could well be “Gorau Chwarae, Chwarae teg”, which assures a healthy future for the game of rugby and the beautiful Welsh language. Pob lwc I chi gyd yng “Nghlwb Rygbi Caerdydd”.